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Nanotribology: the Link to Macrotribology



Stephen M. Hsu


The study of adhesion, friction, and lubrication at the nanoscale is driven by the needs in niicrosystems, MEMS, and small scale devices. Reliabilitydurability of these devices depend on the ability to control these properties. Furthermore, if fast-moving contacting parts in these devices can be designedoperated reliably, it will open the path to many more applications where real time sensing, computing, and sophisticated actuation are needed. Nanotribolowill enable the microsystem technology to blossom into untold technologies in medicine, health-care, manufacturing, microelectronics, aerospace,informatics. Controlling friction at nanoscale is complicated by our lack of understanding of the fundamental processes at the atomic/molecular scale. Recliterature is filled with atomic-scale friction studies but they failed to elucidate the basic friction mechanisms at different scales. Many of the friction dreported are very low compared to the macro-scale data. The low friction data promote the idea that at nanoscale, friction is not an important impedimentworking components but this does not agree with component experience. Hence the question: is nanofriction relates to macro-scale friction?In lubrication, many nanoscale probes have been used to re-ex@ne macro-scale lubrication practices. Nanomechanical properties of the boundary lubricatefilms have been reported. Can these data be translated into advances in our lubrication practices? This paper attempts to address the fundamental naturefriction and lubrication at nanoscale and relate the observations to macroscale. Several case studies will be used to illustrate the existence or absence oflinkaThe absence of linkage may be traced to the different friction mechanisms at different scales.
Australian Tribology Conference


film analysis, lubrication, nanofriction, nanomechanical properties, nanotribology, scaling laws, surface chemistry


Hsu, S. (2017), Nanotribology: the Link to Macrotribology, Australian Tribology Conference (Accessed June 17, 2024)


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Created February 19, 2017